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Joy as dog-napped pets are returned

PUBLISHED: 15:11 02 July 2010 | UPDATED: 17:02 07 September 2010

TWO Hampstead dog owners were thrilled to be reunited with their pets this week after thieves stole them from a professional walker. The Ham&High reported last week how a van containing 11 dogs was stolen on Christchurch Hill after the driver left the ke

TWO Hampstead dog owners were thrilled to be reunited with their pets this week after thieves stole them from a professional walker.

The Ham&High reported last week how a van containing 11 dogs was stolen on Christchurch Hill after the driver left the keys in the ignition.

Hours after the theft on Monday June 21 nine dogs were found tied to a lamppost on a North Finchley estate but two remained missing a Pug belonging to Rolf and Goldie Allan and a Samoyed, belonging to children's nutritionist guru Annabel Karmel.

The devastated owners offered a reward of £4,000 which was raised to £7,000 by last Friday as they became ever more concerned for the welfare of their animals.

And on Sunday to the joy of Mr and Mrs Allan, who had flown back from Switzerland when the news of the theft had first reached them, a woman claiming to have found their Pug got in touch.

The couple rushed to meet her on the North Finchley estate and the Ham&High understands a sum was paid and the dog was safely returned. Relief came for Ms Karmel late on Tuesday evening when the same woman called to say she had found her dog.

Ms Karmel said: "I don't know where he has been for the last week but I expect the police will now investigate. The dog was so happy to see me. It is like getting a child back.

"This last week has been terrible. I have not been able to do any work or concentrate. I have just been thinking about getting my dog back. It was unbelievable when I saw him. He went absolutely nuts. I will be walking the dog from now on until I can find someone I trust or someone who does not walk so many dogs at the same time."

Ms Karmel celebrated the safe return of her dog Hamilton by staying in and having dinner with him. And she revealed the week-long nightmare has persuaded her to go out and buy another puppy.

Ms Karmel had also employed the services of an ex-policeman to help track down her dog.

A much relieved Mr Allan told the Ham&High this week: "The thieves ruined my life last week. I was devastated, absolutely shattered. I could not believe anyone could take my dog. I can understand stealing wallets or credit cards but dogs cannot be replaced."

Mr Allan, who works in the property business, has vowed only he and his wife will take charge of walking the dog in future.

Dima Yeremenko and his Good Boy Dog School has come under fire from certain sectors of the dog walking community but he defended his company and the driver who had the van stolen from under her nose.

He said: "I can't tell how good it was to receive support from all over the country. I have received hundreds of emails. This could have happened to anyone especially with the crime around these days. I am more than happy with how the driver acted. If there is anyone who has not made a mistake then let them point the finger."

Mr Yeremenko is critical of the police for what he sees as a lack of action but Det Insp Gary Randall of Camden Police told the Ham&High they were doing everything they could.

Speaking before Ms Karmel's Samoyed was found Det Insp Randall said: "We will be following up all lines of enquiry in relation to the circumstances of the finding to see whether this leads us to the other dog.


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